Sunday, December 29, 2013

Drama Review - That Fool (The Accidental Couple)

For every nice and mature romantic comedy drama out there, there seem to be way too many juvenile and/or abusive and badly written romances. When it does change, however, it makes for sweet, warm and surprisingly poignant little stories that might not offer the rollercoaster cliché-filled fun more popular options do, but are remembered for the beautiful emotions and thoughts they leave one with. 'The Accidental Couple' is such a story, making it one of the best and more mature romantic comedy dramas out there.

Written by Jeong Jin-yeong-I and Kim Ee-chan ('First Love of a Royal Prince') and directed by Ki Min-soo ('Ojak Brothers', 'Good Doctor'), 2009 drama 'The Accidental Couple' is a contract marriage drama. Goo Dong-baek (Hwang Jeong-min) is a meek and kind man working at a post office. Having raised his younger sister alone, he has always been responsible and caring. Han Ji-soo (Kim Ah-joong) is an actress with the air of a diva around her. She is dating a mayoral candidate's son, Kim Kang-mo (Joo Sang-wook), but due to their work and his father's disapproval, she is forced to keep their relationship a secret. When Ji-soo and Kang-mo get into a car accident while being chased by reporters, Dong-baek, who happens to be at the scene, is asked a big favor. To pretend being the driver so that there is no scandal involving the two. Being Ji-soo's fan, a good man and in the confusion of the moment, Dong-baek accepts, setting the plot in motion.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Accidental Couple".

Drama First Look - You Came From The Stars

Spiced-up fantasy plots in romantic works have been popular for a while in Korean drama. With 2013 having brought with it everything from mind-reading to ghosts, 'You Came From The Stars' came with a bit of a more unusual, but definitely more interesting approach. So how does a romantic drama about an alien's love with a human fair? So far, for what it seems to be building itself up to, it's doing well.

When we look at the material released before this started airing, there seemed to be a more of a light tone added to the latest ones, hinting at romantic comedy elements in this. While the couple bickering is present and there are some jokes, admittedly not all of them in good taste, here and there, this is most definitely not a rom-com. This is shaping up to be a fantasy romantic melodrama and there are even some darker elements present which will probably shift the focus to a more menacing territory later. That said, it is good that the tone is consistent right from the start. 'You Came From The Stars' will be a dark fairytale, but it is looking like a dark fairytale done well.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "You Came From The Stars".

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Drama Review - Medical Top Team

With dramas being produced so frequently and all the regurgitated tropes that come with that, it is often the case for some dramas that there is not much potential there to begin with. They might be fun and good to pass the time, but nothing which could ever be more than that. Sometimes, though, a drama will come up that is very sad. It is very sad because it will have some good parts, maybe even excellent parts and potential, but will ultimately let that potential down. 'Medical Top Team', by director Kim Do-hoon ('The Sun and the Moon') and writer Yoon Kyeong-ah ('Master of Study', 'Brain') is such a drama.

Being the name in the title, Medical Top Team is a team established recruiting the finest doctors at the Gwang Hae University Hospital with the goal to offer top quality treatment for rare illnesses and challenging cases. When doctor Park Tae-sin (Kwon Sang-woo) enters the team, he quickly discovers that working there means having to navigate through the power struggles in the hospital, facing the difficulties of working in a team and constantly struggling to maintain one's ideology under pressure to obey orders.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team".

Drama First Look - The Prime Minister And I

Between let downs and false advertising, 2013 has been a disappointing year for fans of the romantic comedy genre. While 'The Prime Minister And I' brought some hope, it also had a lot of worries attached to it. Now that four episodes have gone by and the show is settling into its routine, it is possible to make an assessment. Thankfully, for fans of rom-com, the worries mentioned are disappearing with each episode.

One great thing about 'The Prime Minister And I' is that, while it does employ certain tropes and a style found in many a romantic comedy drama, its tone and way of handling those tropes make it incredibly refreshing and give it depth often lacking from works of the genre. Where many series choose to go for an incredibly light tone which quickly deteriorates into melodrama, this series goes for balance, presenting all the elements we know will bring said melodrama later on and spending time on its light and heavier moments in a wonderfully balanced way. The series is very funny and brings back much missed laughs and comedy, but it also has a lot of heart. Additionally, the melodrama is mostly done in moving ways, not with exaggeration and theatricality in mind.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "The Prime Minister And I".

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Drama Review - Capital Scandal

When Jeong Ryeo-won's character in 'The King of Dramas' wrote the drama all the characters were out to produce, it was pegged as a period noir romance set during the Japanese occupation and called 'Gyeongseong Morning'. For drama fans who found that drama within a drama interesting, it could be perhaps inspired by 2007 drama 'Gyeongseong Scandal' or 'Capital Scandal'. While not really noir in nature, the series does have a very unique style of presentation slightly similar to it and is an interesting mix of a period drama and romantic comedy.

The series dives into the time of change during the 1930s, when independence fighters and tradition were head to head with the Japanese occupants, pro-Japanese Koreans and the rapid modernization that was forcefully brought along with them. Seon Woo-wan (Kang Ji-hwan) is far from a hero for a lead in such a series. In fact, he is a womanizer and a spoiled prince, determined to not meddle in the war and just out to have a good time. Na Yeo-kyeong (Han Ji-min) is a strong-willed, but innocent and naive teacher who aspires to be an independence fighter like her father and is unwilling to budge from traditional values. Cha Song-joo (Han Go-eun) is a gisaeng who is trying to help her people using her influence as a powerful celebrity figure liked by Koreans and Japanese alike. All three have their lives shaken and their adventure starting as Lee Soo-hyeon (Ryoo Jin) enters the picture, a man working for the Japanese who has ties to Song-joo and Woo-wan, but is also now having Yeo-kyeong on his radar.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Capital Scandal".

Drama Preview - You Came From The Stars

Nuna romances are nothing new in Dramaland and given the main audience for romantic series is slightly older women, this will not be changing anytime soon. Since the type is used so often, it is necessary for each show to add a different spin on things. 'You Came From The Stars' offers one with some very intriguing potential. It begins airing on December 18th.


Do Min-joon (Kim Soo-hyeon-I) is an alien. Nope, not an immigrant. An actual space alien who crash landed at Joseon 400 years ago. Having lived on Earth for 400 years and into the present, he has developed a cynical view of humans. Cheon Song-i (Jeon Ji-hyeon) is a top actress and all around diva that will develop a romance with Min-joon, whom she seems to have a past involvement with already.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "You Came From The Stars".

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Drama Preview - Prime Minister and I

2013 has not been a great year for fluff or dramas in general. With a few exceptions garnering great love and ratings, it has been quite a melodrama-oriented and boring ride. Here to shine a ray of hope in the rom-com fluff department is 'The Prime Minister And I'.


Kwon Yool (Lee Beom-soo) is the nation's youngest Prime Minister. At the age of 42 and widowed 7 years ago, he is a workaholic with zero skills at being a father to his three children. Nam Da-jeong (Yoona) is a 28-year-old woman who wanted to be a writer like Jane Austen. Needing money to take care of her sick father (Lee Han-wi), that dream is put on hold and she now works as a tabloid reporter. Her latest task, stalk the Prime Minister to get dirt on his love life. When a scandal breaks out about her being his woman, they find themselves faced with some tough decisions. Enter contract marriage and hopefully, hilarity and romance.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "The Prime Minister And I".

Strong Drama Women - The Examples

In the two previous pieces of the 'Strong Drama Women' trio, 'The Norm' and 'The Definition', I talked about how problematic and limiting the portrayals of women often are in Korean drama, with the rom-com drama being my main focus. When it is the genre most watched by and intended for women, it is surprising to see how little it sometimes thinks of them. But in my second piece, I talked about the existence of hope. And hope is here. Bellow I have only a few examples that belong in one or more categories of the definitions I gave in my previous piece. While not the only ones or possibly even best ones (I have not seen every drama out there after all), they are, out of the ones I have seen, good examples of how women can be well developed and respected as characters, while often still maintaining their role in their romance.

There are some character-related spoilers here, which is inevitable in analyzing them, but they are kept to an absolute minimum.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Examples.

Kdrama Fandom - Accepting Creative Decisions

The persistence and aversion to change of the majority of kdrama fans is nothing new. Neither is our overall preference for romance, handsome young men and the less challenging sides of entertainment. However, where one would think there are limits to how strong and forceful that behavior can get, we are often surprised to find out it gets worse.

The trigger for this post is the reaction by the international fan community to the romantic pairing of Lee Beom-soo and SNSD's Yoona for 'The Prime Minister And I'. Now, big age gaps are not romantic to everyone, for various reasons. That is to be expected. It is also to be expected that an older man (at the ripe old age of 44) without model looks will not attract many of the younger fans or those who prefer a cast more on the younger and aesthetically pleasing side. That is all fine. It is also fine to express that. Say we disapprove of it, will not watch the show and move on.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Kdrama Fandom - Accepting Creative Decisions.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Drama Review - At the End of the World

Virus epidemics are far from becoming a genre in Korean cinema. Given the lack of variety in genre found in Korean drama, they are even more of a rarity in television. However, 2013 brought us not one, but two series with that same premise. OCN's 'The Virus' went for the channel's usual sleek and investigation-oriented approach. 'At The End Of The World' is a production aired on jTBC, written by Park Hye-ryeon-I and directed by Ahn Pan-seok ('White Tower', 'A Wife's Credentials'). Having produced some high quality series such as 'Padam Padam... The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats' and 'Heartless City', it is clear the channel is going for a cinematic, detailed and polished approach for dramas.

The premise of 'At The End Of The World' is nothing new for the genre itself. It all starts with a host and the authorities that need to find that person. After a fishing boat sinks under mysterious circumstances, the only survivor, found floating mid-ocean on a liferaft, is brought to shore. Soon enough, people start contracting a deadly super-virus from him; one that has a 100% mortality rate. Enter the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and an investigative team lead by Kang Joo-heon (Yoon Je-moon), a sharp and focused man. Along with his team, including the rookie Lee Na-hyeon (Jang Kyeong-ah), they start a race against time, to stop the virus from spreading, but also, find the antibodies the carrier has within him.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "At The End Of The World".

Drama Review - You're Beautiful

As much variety as the Korean wave offers, there are certain works from each industry that simply stand out. Their popularity soars so high, that it is nearly impossible to stumble across an online portal, blog or other hallyu-related medium without seeing them mentioned or featured there in some major way. 'You're Beautiful', written by Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran ('My Girlfriend is a Gumiho', 'The Greatest Love') and directed by Hong Seong-chang ('The King of Dramas'), is such a work. Everyone knows it, most have seen it, many love it.

'You're Beautiful' has a premise often found in Asian dramas and brings the usual tropes it carries with it. This series is a gender bender. When Mi Nam , a rookie idol about to make his debut with a band called A.N.Jell, cannot return to the spotlight after his plastic surgery went wrong, his manager has an idea. He finds the young man's twin sister and hopes to disguise her as him and fool everyone, including the band, until he can return. The problem is, miss Mi Nyeo (Park Sin-hye) is aiming to become a nun and is generally not well-versed in telling lies and pretending. Add to that Hwang Tae-kyeong (Jang Geun-seok), the band leader, whose arrogance and sourness are only matched by his demanding personality and dislike for the rookie, and it's a recipe for disaster. And as usual, romance.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Beautiful".

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Strong Drama Women - The Definition

In my previous piece about strong female characters in Korean drama ([HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Norm), I talked about how the main female characters found in series, particularly of the romantic genre, suffer from gender stereotypes and trope limitations. This is not to say, however, that other types of female characters are not found. Be it in main, secondary or supporting roles, they are there. The question is, how are they presented? In order to consider their existence significant as viewers, it has to be considered significant by their creators and conveyed as such.

But in order to find the characters with potential, realized and unrealized, we have to give 'strong' a definition. The problem with the word itself is that it can give the wrong idea about the type of character we are talking about. 'Strong' is not necessarily a personality trait of the character as a fictional person. By saying 'strong female character', I do not mean just brave, tough, feisty women with good jobs, positions of power and money. Those women are "strong" within the world they exist. Now, while this is one type of strong women worth mentioning, their strength is often skin-deep and would more likely discourage women from aspiring to be like them.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Definition.

Drama Review - History of the Salaryman

Korean drama is not the medium for surprises, it has to be said. Predictable plots, character stereotypes and even similar dialogues are a large part of what gives it its identity. But every once in a while, a series will come out that will, in smaller or bigger ways, break the drama mold. 'Salaryman', which is helmed by director Yoo In-sik and written by Jang Yeong-cheol and Jeong Kyeong-soon-I is mostly definitely such a drama. The trio behind hit melodrama 'Giant' and 'Incarnation of Money' (with the two writers also having 'Empress Qi' on their track record) is all about using a similar central idea in different ways.

Their three series have one thing in common. The corruption and ugliness of big institutions (corporate world, politics, judicial system). While 'Giant' is a heavy melodrama and does feature a lot of the same cast members as 'Salaryman' (Lee Beom-soo, Lee Deok-hwa, Kim Seo-hyeong and many more), the latter is what could be described as a lighter, comedic take on that theme. The series opens with a murder mystery, before the two main characters are arrested as the suspects. Cue visual travel back in time, to where the whole thing started and we get to meet our characters.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Salaryman".

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Drama Review - Secret Garden

When Kim Joo-won wore his Italian hand-made sequined tracksuit, it became an instant hit and buyer favorite. When the cappuccino kiss took place, selcas with foam mustaches flooded the internet. 'Secret Garden' is undoubtedly one of the most popular romantic Korean dramas of the last few years and the way in which it cemented itself into pop culture and skyrocketed the careers of many in its cast make it a milestone for the industry.

The premise of 'Secret Garden' is quite a cliche, at parts, but also quite refreshing for its time. Gil Ra-im is a poor, but capable stunt woman who dreams of having an international career. Kim Joo-won is an arrogant rich man who is trying to run his business and function despite his crippling phobia of riding in elevators. Through a misunderstanding and finding their work lives meeting up, they form an attraction-hate relationship. During one of their meetings, they find themselves lost in the woods and arrive at a small tavern. It is here where things take a turn for the fantasy genre, as they wake up the next day having swapped bodies, complicating their relationship. But the mysterious tavern owner who gave them the potion that caused the switch seems to know something about the people they targeted and their fate.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Secret Garden".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Drama Review - Fantastic Couple

Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran are names any drama fan would probably know. Having produced hit series time and time again ('My Girl', 'You're Beautiful', 'Master's Sun'), these two ladies are nearly a sure bet for those who like the romantic comedy genre. While not without their problems and mistakes ('Big' mistakes), they are popular and profitable. They are also known for their 'Candy' (a term they themselves seem to love) characters. Poor women finding themselves in the arms of the usual rich and complex-ridden men. With 'Fantastic Couple', the Hongs went for a reversal of this, producing what could be their most habit-breaking work.

'Fantastic Couple' is a remake of the 1987 film 'Overboard', starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Jo Anna is a rich and very mean woman who keeps everyone at a distance and puts fear in them merely by being present. She is spoiled, cruel and indifferent to everyone, including her husband. Jang Chul-soo is a hardworking and well-liked in his community man. Being the sole guardian of his three nephews, he is always short on money and takes on any repair work he can find. After a few meetings ending in these two becoming enemies, Anna falls off her yacht and loses her memory. Chul-soo ends up in the hospital next to her and gets a pretty nasty idea. He lies to her about their relationship and brings her back home to make her work her debt to him off, all the while trying to convince her this was her life before the accident.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic Couple".

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Drama Review - My Fair Lady

If there is one trope that one could use to describe Korean drama with, especially in the rom-com genre, it would be the rich man/poor girl one. Go ahead and look at your drama list or remember the series you have watched. Chances are, most of those series in it will have that premise.

'My Fair Lady', written by Kim Eun-hee and Yoon Eun-kyeong ('When It's at Night', 'The Prime Minister and I') and directed by Ji Yeong-soo (Triangle), offers a rare reversal to that mix, giving us a rich and spoiled female lead and a poor man with street smarts. Seo Dong-chan is a hardworking man with a loud personality, who is trying to make money in order to pay back loan sharks. He is living with a good friend and her mother who run a flower shop he works at as one of his part-time jobs. Kang Hye-na is an immature and bratty heiress to her wealthy grandfather and his company. She does not want to bother with earning her keep and likes to oppress people for fun.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Fair Lady".

Strong Drama Women - The Norm

Most fans of Korean drama, no matter their culture or background, would all agree about one thing. This is not the medium one turns to for realism, variety and representation. Korean series and the romance genre in particular are riddled with overused and limited tropes, making it possible to predict how most plots and characters will evolve based on that cookie-cutter method the industry is clawing onto.

And with those tropes come some character stereotypes that often feel anything but realistic or respectful. Let's face it; drama does not particularly love all kinds of people, men or women. If it does, its refusal to represent them is quite the weird way of showing it. So we end up with the same arrogant, but traumatized rich men and bubbly, but persistent poor women living on rooftops and destined to serve their mothers in law. We end up with rich parents/grandparents who have nothing better to do than meddle in their kids' romantic lives. We end up with a ton of clichés we all know and could each comfortably form a list of.

But since this is a type of entertainment which mainly produced and enjoyed by female audiences, it is imperative that the real wants, needs and nature of those women, as well as their representation are taken into account.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Norm.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Movie Review - Duelist (Short Version)

'Damo' is a series a lot of people will know. Being quite a popular title and undoubtedly one that helped Ha Ji-won rise to fame, it is an important piece of Korean television for many reasons. 'Duelist' has some things in common with it. Both movies are based on the same manhwa and both star Ha Ji Won as the female lead. However, that might very well be where their similarities end. The format is different, one being a drama and the other a movie, but 'Duelist' being a work by Lee Myung-se means it is also an unapologetic art film. This makes it more of a fusion sageuk, as many elements, from wardrobe to the music, take creative liberty and are simply not consistent with the era the movie is set in.

'Duelist' opens with Namsoon (Ha Ji-won) and Detective Ahn (Ahn Seung-ki) investigating a money counterfeiting case that points to political corruption and plotting against the king. A mysterious assassin, only known throughout the film as 'Sad Eyes' (Kang Dong-won) is their only lead. Through their conflicts, Namsoon and Sad Eyes find themselves drawn to each other in a way a detective and a suspect should not be.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Duelist".

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Movie Review - The Guard Post

Horror is a painful subject in Korean cinema. It is one of those genres that produces some very good and atmospheric movies, but also a lot of half-baked attempts at jump scares, muddled storytelling, idol promotion and often solely teen-pleasing graphicness. Director Kong Soo-chang's attempt at directing/writing a movie before 'The Guard Post' was 'R-Point'. Its refusal to close its story or even explain some basics of its plot was something which left a bitter taste, especially considering his talent with creating atmosphere, a constant feeling of dread and using his cast well. Thankfully, 'The Guard Post' corrects a lot of the issues found in 'R-Point'.

The film opens with the titular guard post, located at the demilitarized zone between the Koreas, just as the new shift is arriving after an alarming lack of contact from the previous group. When they find everyone slaughtered and the only survivor and obvious perpetrator in a manic state, Sergeant Major Noh Seong-gyu is called in by a friend to solve the mystery. Due to the base being where the army chief's son was stationed at, Noh only has one night to figure out what happened, before the army try to cover everything up.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Guard Post".

Movie Review - The Ghost Theater

Korea is no stranger to the genre of horror. But a horror musical film is not something you come across. Maybe because musicals are part of Korea's entertainment scene, musical movies have not managed to entice audiences. Film and theater offer very different experiences, after all. Jeon Gye-soo ('Love Fiction') and 'The Ghost Theater' bring horror musicals to the big screen, with enjoyable results.

The film opens with our lady protagonist, So-dan (Kim Kkobbi), looking for her senile grandmother, who kept repeating she wanted to go to Samgeori Theater and watch her movie again. When she finds out there is a job opening at that theater, So-dan signs up in hopes her grandmother will eventually turn up. She soon discovers that the owner and staff of this rundown place are a less than cheerful bunch and that the theater is also haunted.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Ghost Theater".

Drama Review - Coma

With horror dramas being few and far between, this is a genre that mostly goes underrepresented on television, be it due budget issues, reluctance to try horror in a different format or other reasons. Some recent attempts have been made at including horror in the plot, but those are still mainly romantic works and not pure horror series. 'Coma' is a 2006 TV-movie or mini-series created by SIO Film and brought to television by OCN. So this is more of a mix between a film and a drama. Each episode has a different director (Episodes 1 and 5 are done by Kong Soo-chang, creator of 'R-Point' and 'The Guard Post') and the series has three writers.

The premise and starting point of 'Coma' are pretty simple. An insurance agent named Yoon-yeong (Lee Se-eun) arrives at a closing hospital to do her part in wrapping up on her company's behalf, when things start taking a turn for the scary. Everyone involved looks suspicious, at best and the paranormal occurrences are certainly not helping. What makes the story of 'Coma' special is how, much like many horror works, it is much more complicated than what it first appears to be.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Coma".

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Movie Review - The Beast and the Beauty

Perhaps not one of the first movies one would think about when discussing romantic comedies as a genre in Korean cinema, 'The Beast and the Beauty' is better described as a whimsical comedy with romance. It is that unique style of the plot, but also presentation of the movie which separate it from more familiar types of romantic comedies.

'The Beast and the Beauty' starts with a common and always interesting topic. Self-image. Gu Dong Geon is a shy and slightly neurotic dubbing actor for monster effects, who is very insecure about his looks, something nicely mirrored in his work of always being the beastly villain. When he falls for Jang Hae Joo, a blind musician who lives confidently with her disability, his low self-esteem and panic lead him to telling a lie. He describes himself to her as having the looks of his popular high school rival, Tak Jun Ha. When Hae Joo gets a cornea transplant, he attempts to hide from her until he can get plastic surgery and be the man he thinks she deserves. That is when the real Jun Ha enters the picture, with hilarious results.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Beast and the Beauty".

Kdrama Kiss Types - Part 2

Last week, we took a look at some of the types of kisses in Korean drama in '[HanCinema's Column] Kdrama Kiss Types - Part 1'. From dead fish faces to the satisfying passionate smooching, actors have different approaches to kissing and different levels of involvement. Some try, some don't, but we can't forget about the fact that how a kiss looks or is even acted does not solely rest at the hands (or rather lips) of the cast themselves.

There are actors who seem fine with kissing in one series and then won't try at all in another. Clearly, the type of kiss depends a lot on the actual creators behind the camera and writing too. Writing aside, there are some quite common ways in which some kisses are not really aided in the romance department by the directors and editors. So let us take a look at those, along with the refreshing ultimate kissing type.

The Far and Away

Have you ever been a third wheel during an outing? Your couple-friends might sometimes get a bit too close for (your) comfort, so you give them some space. The camera work in kdrama feels like a third wheel sometimes. Just as the kissing is getting interesting and mouths are about to open, it goes away and briefly stares from a distance.

If she can handle that kiss with a heart condition, we'll be just fine, camera.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Kdrama Kiss Types - Part 2.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Drama Review - I Hear Your Voice

I Hear Your Voice

While the theme of the 2013 summer and autumn dramas has been ghosts ('Master's Sun', 'Who Are You - 2013' and 'Ghost Seeing Detective Cheo Yong' coming not-so-soon), "I Hear Your Voice" went for a different kind of power. The male lead, Park Soo Ha, has the power to read people's minds. After his father was murdered when he was a child, Soo Ha grew up wanting to repay a big debt to the woman who saved his own life. This woman struggling with her own lack of dreams and loss of faith in people, Jang Hye Seong, is the female lead. Their story unfolds as they are trying to escape a danger from the past while becoming closer and also influencing and being influenced by events and other characters along the way.

Helmed by director Jo Soo-won ('Cheongdam-dong Alice') and written by Park Hye-ryeon ('Dream High'), "I Hear Your Voice" is hard to categorize, as genres in Korean drama tend to come with very specific styles and tropes. A suspense drama would be the closest thing to what it actually feels like, although it never becomes too overbearing. There is romance, there are court procedures, there is action, there is comedy. What this series does well is to tell its story instead of being confined by what it is supposed to be. And it is in this story and its characters where "I Hear Your Voice" truly shines.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "I Hear Your Voice".

Kdrama Kiss Types - Part 1

When "Secret Garden" aired, the coffee shop peck was an instant hit. The 'Foam Kiss' was quickly copied by citizens and celebrities alike, mostly in the form of parody, but still highlighting the obsession over kiss types in Korean drama. From the 'Cola Kiss' in "Lie to Me" to the 'Candy Kiss' in "IRIS", themed kisses are everywhere.

But as any foreign fan of Korean dramas coming from a very different culture knows, it's often the odd and awkward way in which kisses are portrayed that gets us. Whatever the reasons behind their form, they are certainly interesting to watch. So let us take a little lighthearted look at all these whacky ways of performing kisses that are as frustrating as they are entertaining.

The Dead Fish

Have you ever fallen asleep on the bus or in the car during a long road trip? You're positioned as if awake, but the lights are out. This is the 'Dead Fish' kiss. Lips barely touching, minimum contact and you would swear either or both parties had a narcoleptic attack during the approach.

Dead Fish Kiss
He's mesmerizing, but not enough to put you to sleep.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Kdrama Kiss Types - Part 1.

Drama Review - Full House

Full House Review

Depending on how big of a drama watcher you are, you might know a little or a lot about the 2004 hit series "Full House". This romantic drama starring Song Hye-kyo and Rain was quite the success during its original run, ending with ratings that reached a 42% peak with its last episode and becoming popular abroad, even resulting in a number of remakes made in other countries.

The premise of "Full House" is nothing new at this point. It is about the well covered topic of a business deal type of marriage leading to true love. Han Ji-eun (Song Hye-kyo) is an aspiring writer who lost her home and all of her possessions after being swindled by her once best friends. When Lee Young-jae (Rain), a famous actor moves into the house he does not know was sold without her permission, they come to an arrangement. She wants the house back, he wants to make the woman he has a one-sided love for jealous. Enter fake marriage.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Full House".

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some News on My Activity

I don't write novels, but that is one funny mug.

Hello faithful and non-faithful readers. As you might have figured out if you checked my Twitter page over the last year, I have not been having a good time. As a result, I have been writing more scarcely. However, things happened and life is now better. So I am making a comeback as a blogger, but not here in my own blog.

Every week, over the next few months, I will be writing a couple of pieces for Hancinema. I am hoping to cover movie and drama reviews, opinion pieces, some humorous ones and anything else that pops up, since I am open to new ideas and news as time goes by.

Since those pieces are the property of Hancinema, I will be posting excerpts of them here, so that you can keep track of them and read them there if you want to. The movie reviews will be linked to in my movie list as well.

This does not mean I will not be doing pieces for my own blog from now on. But they will be a bit more rare for a few months and mainly the ones of personal interest, as well as the rage or kyaa filled ones, since I don't plan to start cussing or spazzing in places other than my personal blog.

So good to be back and writing again and I'll be seeing you all here and there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Message to Fans of Popular Entertainment

I was browsing Twitter a while ago (or rather TweetDeck, since Twitter decided to blow their UI up and make a monster out of the pieces), when I saw a "scandal" tweet from my friend Jana. It was about her favorite celebrity. The fact that the man, Mikey Bustos, posted it on his own profile was quite a dead giveaway of it not being an actual scandal video, so I thought I was in for a humorous take on celebrity scandals. A prank. While it sort of was, the video carries a much bigger message.

As I wrote in my own piece, 'Celebrity News Coverage - Double Standards', fans of celebrities tend to get a bit too comfortable with said celebrities, to a point that goes beyond reason and way beyond what any worker-client relationship should be. The reason I love Mikey Bustos' video is because it addresses that issue, yes, but especially because it's also a very important voice from the side we don't usually pause to hear; the side of the celebrity themselves.

So if you're a fan of Korean dramas, Korean music, Hollywood films, singers, actors and generally anyone who is an icon of popular entertainment, I urge you to see this video and think about this topic. Check your privilege and reassess your rights and obligations as a fan. Think about whether the way you face these industries and its workers is fair and based on your rights, or if you are overstepping your boundaries. We are so used to doing that, sometimes, that we don't even see it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

No Bake Cheesecake

Do you like cheesecake? If not, then you can just skip to another post. What is wrong with you, though? If you do like cheesecake, there are plenty of recipes on baking one. If, however, you like cheesecake, but don't want to bake or use too many ingredients, use a recipe like this. Here's the simple one me and my mom made.


200 grams of Digestive Biscuits

80 grams or a bit more of melted margarine

2.5 dl of vanilla flavored whipping cream (We used 12% one)

200 grams of cream cheese (Philadelphia never disappoints)

1 tbsp of powdered sugar

1 gelatine leaf

Half a jar/However much you want of jam (we used cherry)

Important Notes on the Ingredients:

You can replace the cream with regular and add vanilla flavoring or vanilla sugar. If you add flavoring, you might need more powdered sugar to sweeten it. We don't like it too sweet, so we only used the one spoon along with the ready-flavored cream.

The jam is really up to you. We used a Greek brand and it was pretty sweet, so we only added a tiny layer on top. If it's a bit tangier or not too sweet, you can make it thicker. It all depends on what you like. We like the digestive biscuits and cream filling with less jam, so we did just that.


Place the gelatine leaf in a bit of cold water. Leave for at least 10 minutes. We just took it out when we had done everything else, which was more than enough time.

Crumble the daylights out of the Digestive Biscuits. You can put them in a food processor or, as we did, put them in a food bag and get rid of some of that anxiety and anger by pummeling them with a steak hammer. Any heavy object will do, really.

Melt that margarine until it resembles a kyaagirl who just saw her oppa topless. Complete melted mess, that is. Let it cool down and add it to the biscuits. Little by little. You might not need it all. You're looking for a paste-type of crunchy dry dough.

Spread said dough on the bottom of a pan, after having rubbed some margarine on it. A round cheesecake pan with a removable bottom (side, rather) was our choice. Given the base is fragile, I would not suggest one where the bottom can't be removed. Make sure the side is high enough to fit the cheesecake too. Ours was 6cm tall, the cheesecake about half.

Pat that sucker down until the bottom is evenly covered in digestive goodness and drop da bass put the base in the fridge while you make the filling.

Squeeze the wobbly gelatine in your hand to drain it and add it to a few tablespoons of hot water to melt it.

Use a hand mixer to whip the naughty cream. When it resembles whipped cream more than it does a sauce, throw in that yummy cream cheese and whip some more. You're looking for that soft peak stage, where it's nice and thick enough to stand.

Grab that melted and now slightly cooled water-camouflaged gelatine and slooowly add it into the cream/cheese mixture while whipping it with the hand mixer.

Resist the urge to try the filling (we didn't), spread it onto the base and put it in the fridge for about 2 hours. Depends on the temperature setting. You want it to thicken so that the surface is set enough to spread the jam on without it marbling.

After you have added the jam, put it back in the fridge and leave it for 4 hours or so.

I know 4 hours sounds like a torture of a wait, but if you can't control yourself, make it at night and leave it until the next day, as we did.

Go to bed, wake up, go to your fridge and resist the urge to eat the whole thing within a day (we didn't).

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrity News Coverage - Double Standards

Misery Loves Company

A couple of days ago, I went to print out some stuff at the local library. Before I went home, I dropped by Lidl to get a carton of milk. There was a very handsome guy at the cash register of the line I was waiting at. He was normal, really, but he had nice eyes. He also looked right at me. He even smiled a little. As he gave me the change, our hands touched.

He sits there all day, where people can see and talk to him. His job is in customer service. But he also smiled at me. I like that. I need that escape from the routine of daily life so I'll just focus on him.

I decided that, from now on, I will go there and hide somewhere where I can stare at him often. If other women go near, I'll feel hurt, but I'll let it pass, as long as nothing happens. He's not there all day though. I'll find out what he does after work hours or relating to them and follow him there as well. Maybe school? Grocery shopping?

I'll take pictures of him and video, when he's on the clock and not on the clock. I'll hire someone to keep an eye out for any wrong moves. He's so handsome and looks so nice, he's so good at his job, that I can't fathom him having flaws. If I ever find out he has a girlfriend or he cheated on her or something, I'll make sure to give him Hell about it. I'll write about this crime against me and all his customers! I'll tell the media about it so that we may all chastise him for betraying us by doing bad things in his private time! Why shouldn't we!? His job is about sitting in front of countless of people and smiling at them every day! Smiling at them and talking to them! He should expect my behavior and repent!

Are you freaked out yet? Put the phone down. I don't need a trip to the mental clinic or to be arrested. I was just proving a point. Does the above sound frightening to you? Does it sound like invasion of privacy and this cute cashier's rights? Would I be mentally disturbed if I did that and subject to psychiatric evaluation and maybe legal punishment? To my knowledge, yes.

Now replace said cashier with 'celebrity'. This is my problem.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Snowpiercer - An Addition to Korean Sci-Fi


The rarity of Korean science fiction movies is something I've talked about before and a topic I have strong feelings about. I like sci-fi as a genre and I really think Korean filmmakers could do it very well. For whatever reasons, the genre is not popular in Korean films. Hopefully, maybe, this will change in the future.

Director/writer Bong Joon Ho's 'Snowpiercer' is the latest addition to the genre. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, when the Earth is going through a new ice age and the few survivors are all living aboard a train powered by a sacred perpetual motion engine. The conflicts arise from the fact that there is a gap among the classes existing within, with the richest top class living in luxury while the lower classes suffer.

Co-written by Kelly Masterson ('Before the Devil Knows You're Dead') and staring Chris Evans, Song Kang Ho, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris and John Hurt (among others), 'Snowpiercer' is based on the French graphic novel 'Le Transperceneige'.

If you're thinking "Boy, that's very international", you would be absolutely right. It doesn't stop there either. The film was entirely shot in the Czech Republic and about 85% of it is in English. Due to a handy, albeit overly convenient device aboard the train, the Korean-speaking and English-speaking characters can understand each other. Given I hate dubbing, I'll take this with pleasure.

While this international nature can mean miscommunications and possibly risk the integrity of the work, learning to cooperate with others and create less culturally biased films is definitely a step forward in movie making. Clashing is inevitable, of course, but different cultures and mindsets can also bring valuable insight. What I am saying is, we all mostly watch Hollywood movies, made by and for Hollywood movie mentality. Imagine how much we are missing due to this.

While I have had my issues with Bong as a writer and the promotion for this has been extremely poor from the company's side, I am hopeful and thankful for 'Snowpiecer' and I am definitely looking forward to it.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Orion Rambles About Orion's Ramblings - Liebster Award

Liebster Badge

If you've been around the blogosphere a while, you may have heard about the Liebster Award. It is basically an "award" given by people who like your blog enough to force you into a chain-letter-like deal, where you have to pass it along after obeying their every command and pouring your black heart out in writing.

I am of course joking with my unpleasant description. The Ichliebedich Award is a fun nudge for making an About page, which I should have done already.

For now, you can read more about my nickname and the blog's creation here.

Let's get to the Schiefspiegler Award, which is, within my circle, focused on blogs about Korean dramas, movies and generally entertainment, but not only.

Award Rules

The rules seem to differ from person to person, since many change things as they pass this along, so I'll just wing it as well.

  • List 10 random facts about you and your life. It's supposed to be 11, but my slightly obsessive compulsive brain says 10 is better.
  • Answer the questions of those who gave you the award. It says 'nominated you', but then nobody wins it, so let's all be winners.
  • Nominate some other bloggers or interweb people. The special ones.
  • Make some questions for said bloggers. 5 is polite, 10 is pushing it, over that is simply sadistic. Don't torture the folk. Unless they like it.
  • Notify them of their victory and link them to your post. If no one knows they won, things are not exactly fun, are they?
  • Display the Hasenpfeffer Award badge on your blog, to brag about not being hated by everyone and show appreciation for it to your friends.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lee Beom Soo Works - Movie Recommendation List

Lee Beom Soo Movies

As I mentioned in my 'Lee Beom Soo Works - Drama Recommendation List' post, I have seen enough of his films to compile a list of them and voice some opinions on the pieces. As he has not done many dramas, I mentioned them all (but one, where he had a tiny role), but when it comes to movies, the list is much longer.

Having seen about half of his films so far, there are only a few left in which he has a major role and despite his performances always being lovely to watch, I don't love or like all of the movies themselves. Here are the ones I would recommend, however.

Keep in mind, I don't necessarily hate the rest of his works I have watched and being a big fan, I do not regret watching them, but I just wouldn't watch them twice and don't feel they should not be missed by non big fans.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lee Beom Soo Works - Drama Recommendation List

Lee Beom Soo Dramas

Since I've watched enough of his works to be disturbingly educated on topics such as the expressive use of his eyebrows, I thought I would make a recommendation list with mini-opinions for the works of Lee Beom Soo; an actor you should all be honored to know and feel like the worms you are if you don't. Alright, I am overdramatizing here, but you should definitely check this gentleman out.

Given the man has a career as long as about half this puny human's life on this Earth, I have not yet watched all of his works nor do I really plan to. However, I have watched a lot of them. While I might be making a more complete list with them all one day, I will now just mention the ones I especially liked and recommend to others.

In this part, the Dramas. The Movie Recommendation List is found here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

'IRIS 2' Review - An Inadvertent Tragicomedy

IRIS2 Final Review

Time is money and money is precious. Since 'IRIS 2' shamelessly blew the biggest budget ever used for a Korean drama and precious time away on one of the worst series Korea has produced, I decided I will not use much time to make a huge final review as I had planned. Instead, I will use the formula I did for the Midpoint Review and explain what changed and how I feel about it. If you like my pain, you can also read this to see how my expectations were crushed.

In that review above, I said watching this was, up to that point, like twirling around yourself. You get dizzy, feel sick, but it's fun and it's at least exhilarating. So how would the second half be described then? It would be like tripping and falling on broken glass and nails. Then comes the manic laughing. You're ok, you made it and although you'll spend the rest of the day picking shards from your unmentionables, you're just happy it's over. "Never again", you say and this time, you really mean it.

Here come the SPOILERS and vitriol.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'End of the World' - The Power of Ratings in Korean Drama

The news just came out, kindly translated by javabeans over at Dramabeans, that series 'End of the World' of jTBC has been cut to half due to bad ratings. It will air 12 episodes instead of the planned 20.

As you can imagine, something like this puts a dagger through many a heart. Mine personally as well. You see, in business, a deal is valued. A contract is the law. When you sign up for something, you make an oath to see it through. That is what makes the difference between a professional and a clown.

So explain to me this. If the production team sign a contract by which they are obligated to produce material for a certain number of episodes, if the actors sign up to perform for that number of episodes and if this is the plan most approve and are on board for, why is it that the channel is not also bound by that contract? If the writers or actors or crew or director don't have the right to just walk when they feel like it, which they shouldn't have, why does the channel?

Filming a series is grueling work. We're talking long hours, less time to prepare than with movies, more demanding a format for storytelling. Especially in Korea and its obsession with nearly-live shooting, the whole process is even harder. People work very hard, very fast so they can tell a story. Everyone should be required, by law and contract, to commit to that story from beginning to end.

I realize that is not possible with some shows in the West. They are designed to be multi-season ones. If one season is doing poor, it's the channel's right to have it cancelled, since it would be insane to support more seasons of something which is bringing no profit. But they should at least be required to let the running season end and inform the makers of it early enough so that the story can be changed. Story is God in a work of fiction. It should be protected and respected, as should the people who work on a show and their hard work.

Korea mostly makes 1-season shows. Cutting one in half and letting them know so late (9 episodes have already aired), especially when it's being filmed just before it is aired, is simply disrespectful, unprofessional and disgusting a move.

We know ratings mean the world to them. Pleasing and hooking overly-demanding viewers is their only goal, when we are talking about the business people involved. But audiences do not watch entertainment as a business. They get drawn to the stories, the characters, the emotions, the settings. Dramas are business, yes, but they are also entertainment and sometimes even art. Unless a fine balance exists between those things, you lose the dedication to them from either side. Without that dedication, everything collapses.

If channels keep this behavior up, pretty soon people will get tired of it. They will tire of the same stories, same settings, same dialogues, same everything which exists within the ever-shrinking sphere of what sells and what is allowed in Korean drama. This is the end for 'End of the World'. It does not have to be the end of Korean dramas or the end of hope and effort for better quality works, filming methods and working environments in them. So speak up, viewers. Tell them when they're wrong.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Korean Peninsula Dirty Talk - 'IRIS2' Edition

Because Twitter. This conversation was born when Yours Truly, the lovely Jeelisa and the foxy JoAnne started discussing 'IRIS2' pairings. Jeelisa was kind enough to lead the discussion to the eye-sex couple of Joong Won (Lee Beom Soo) and Choi Min (Oh Yeon Soo).

To those who don't know of the series, one is a North Korean terrorist threatening the South with missiles and the lady is the South's secret service deputy director. They hold private meetings where they negotiate the situation and their chemistry as enemies is quite the sight. Hence, eye-sex.

Since the pairing is popular, we were kind enough and lend a hand to their job.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'IRIS 2' - Midpoint Review

IRIS2 Logo

If you had an at least semi-functional childhood, you'll have experienced twirling around yourself a few times. It's a special feeling. The world is spinning around you, you're thrilled, dizzy and then you fall on your ass. It hurts and you feel like you're gonna puke. You're thinking "Oh God, I'm dying... This can't be healthy and I'm never doing it again". You get up, shake it off... and do it again.

This is kind of how I'm experiencing 'IRIS 2' so far. I like watching it. I do. Despite many problems and plot points that make you want to rip your hair out in anger, I keep watching. After the disappointment I call 'IRIS', maybe my expectations were so low that I'm just enjoying this due to desensitization. Also, I have fun by simply not taking it too seriously. It spins me around, makes me sick, but keeps me excited. I know it's bad for me and generally bad and yet there I am, twirling again. Why? Because I am creating my own fun.

And this is the problem with 'IRIS 2'. It's not trying to be good. It's not good. Any fun I am having is because of the characters and cast members I like and choose to focus on and the way I watch the series. With friends, commenting on Twitter and Soompi. Here I am, putting in effort to watch it and it is not even trying.

This may or may not become the final review, but let's look at how I feel so far.

Obviously, here be SPOILERS!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Dramafan Scorned

I think the word above is perfect for describing this recent situation. For those of you not living under a cave, like most dramafans do (we love it in there), here is a little summary of the situation. Popular Korean film and drama entertainment blog 'Dramabeans' had been doing recaps for 'Level 7 Civil Servant', until they received a DMCA takedown notice from none other than 'Dramafever'; an online streaming site for Canada and the US which provides subtitled videos for Korean dramas. According to 'Dramafever', they own the license to air the show in the US and the screencaps 'Dramabeans' add to their recaps are therefore copyright infringement.

The girls who own 'Dramabeans' being less than willing to get smacked around by corporate bullying went ahead and removed all of their images from the recaps, let everyone know about it in this post and even apologized for the removal to visitors. And that is when the feces met with the revolving blades of the cooling apparatus.

'Dramabeans' users and dramafans around the globe unleashed a wave of ruthless, brutally honest and enraged comments, tweets, messages on social platforms, 'Dramabeans' and 'Dramafever'. Within a few hours, 'Dramafever' issued this post, claiming this was a third party mess-up and buttering up the angry netizens and Dramabeans alike, saying it will be taken care of and that the notice is not valid. As you can see by the majority of comments, ranging from "this is your last chance" to "F*** you, you f****** bullies! Stop bullsh****** us!", netizens did not buy it.

It seems 'Dramafever' has done this before and is the reason why a lot of streaming sites and blogs have disappeared off the internet in the past few years. There are a few topics of interest I'd like to mention about this whole mess.

Friday, March 1, 2013

'The Virus' Not-Really-Vs 'End of the World'

Virus and End

As I mentioned a while back in my first videogame post (I should pick those up again), I love apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic settings. I love the exploration of what happens to people, rules, morality when the world seems to be going, or has long gone, to the crapper.

The two new Korean dramas I mention in the title are tapping into that interest and are therefore on my radar. Both 'The Virus' and 'End of the World' are about a mysterious disease outbreak and the people who need to fight it. While we don't know if the world really will end or even suffer a big blow, this is very interesting.

For one thing, Korea has issues with sci-fi and Kdrama, especially, has issues with pushing the boundaries and trying different genres. If these two touch upon science-fiction or are at least something we've never seen before and if they do well, even a little, it will hopefully be a very big nudge for the industry to realize breaking the mold can be good.

So here come descriptions, a couple of stills and videos, as well as my take on both series and explanation for the "Not-Really-Vs" part in the title.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The 'Four Episode Concept' for Korean Dramas

I thought this is a good time to introduce my 'Four Episode Concept' properly.

The 'Four Episode Concept' is simple. It basically means that, when it comes to Korean drama, you can't know what the overall feel and quality of the series will be after one or two episodes. There is a good reason for that. It's the way Korean dramas are made and broadcast. Most of them have two episodes per week, each lasting one hour. This means that, in order to get ratings, the ultimate goal of dramas, viewers have to get interested in them during those two episodes.

In order to get viewers interested, the production team will attempt to pack the first two episodes with things that will get people to sit and watch, not necessarily things that are good or serve the story. As a result, we end up with many Kdramas having very different pilot episodes to what the rest of the series will be like. Sometimes the start is good and things deteriorate, sometimes we get mass-friendly starts that turn into great shows.

Big Mistake
Tell me again how our first two episodes fooled you into watching.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Korean Dramas 2012 - The Best Of

Kdramas 2012

In the last few weeks, I have given you The Good, The Bad and The Out of Date Korean Dramas of 2012 that I have watched.

Now comes the final part. The Best Of.

One thing you need to realize about me is that I rarely have favorites. There are so many good things in this world and this constant pressure to choose and limit ourselves is saddening. That said, Kdramas are a type of entertainment that is very consistent in what it seems willing and unwilling to do.

Many things cause problems that turn good dramas sour and ok dramas unbearable. Schedules, pressure from the producers, pressure from viewers, inexperience, fear to try something different and more. Personally, very few series entertain me enough for me to overlook some mistakes and really love the work. I like a lot of Korean dramas and I watch them as much as the next gal/guy, but most of them are the kind I would not watch twice.

This makes it possible for me to chose favorites here.

I give you my Best Of Korean Dramas 2012. Click on the titles for more info.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Korean Dramas 2012 - The Out of Date

Kdramas 2012

Part of my recently created Korean Dramas 2012 list composed by The Good, The Bad and The Best Of kdramas of 2012 are also these. The Out of Date ones. They are dramas I watched in 2012 that were not aired in that year.

Looking at this now, I realize it could also be named 'The Lee Beom Soo Drama Appreciation List'. I watched all of these because of him. 'IRIS' included. Surprisingly, I did not regret watching any of them, which just makes his role in 'Dr. Jin' even more painful. The first time a drama of his sucked (as fun as it was to watch).

The first drama bellow, the fantastic 'Giant' is also among my Best Of for this year. And its own year. And in general.

Let's get to it then. The Out of Date dramas viewed in 2012, by yours truly.

Click on the titles for more info.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Korean Dramas 2012 - The Bad

Kdramas 2012

For every manicure, there is a cracked nail. For every hand disinfectant, there is a paper cut. For every pleasant walk in the rain, there is a car splashing you with raw sewage as the cad whooshes by. And for every great Korean drama, there is a series that should fill the industry with utter shame.

Yep. You guessed it (no you didn't, I told you in the title). This is the list of my most hated dramas of 2012. My feelings for these works range from bitter disappointment to pure loathing. No sugar-coating here. Man/Woman-up or turn back.

Here they are. The Bad dramas of 2012. Click on the titles for more info.

Related Kdrama 2012 Posts: The Good, The Out of Date, The Best of.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Korean Dramas 2012 - The Good

Kdramas 2012

This really was an interesting kdrama year, for me. Everything that was a hit and that I liked, I liked a lot. And I mean a lot. On the other hand, whatever made me angry, made me Hulk-out completely. Despite the repetition of themes such as time travel and body swapping, we had quite a good variety of shows. There is one thing about this year which acted as a blessing and a curse in Korean television. People aimed for freshness. This means that we had those capable of it and allowed to carry it out, who did excellent works, and those who simply bit on more than they could chew. And spat it out in our faces.

As you would expect of me, I will praise and attack fairly and without mercy.

I bring you The Good, The Bad, The Out of Date and finally The Best Of, as well as one special (although hardly honorable) mention. The Out of Date dramas are the ones I watched this year, that were not made in 2012. They were in my 2012, however, so they will be included in this list of mini-reviews.

Let's start with The Good. Click on the titles for more info.

Friday, January 25, 2013

'IRIS 2' - Second Teaser and Casting News

IRIS2 Cast Update

They will just keep coming now and as the days go by. We have a new teaser video for 'IRIS 2' looking fabulous and some casting news too. Jung Seok Won (Haeundae Lovers) and Yoon So Yi (Arahan) have joined the party and so has Sung Dong Il.

Jung will be a special appearance as the young version of Baek San, one of IRIS' top members and main villain during season 1 (there's a bigger player in town this time). Yoon will be playing a well-educated South Korean woman who is brainwashed by the North when she meets Lee Beom Soo's character, Joong Won. She then becomes a spy for the North. Sung Dong Il will be present for a couple of episodes or so.

Kim Seung Woo is also confirmed for good now, although considering the lack of coverage, it means his will be more of a special appearance.

There is filming currently being done in Akita, Japan and we're bound to have more images and videos coming out soon. Enjoy the teaser and I'll be back for more.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

'Incarnation of Money' - Greatness Bellow the Radar?

Incarnation of Money

A while ago I heard news of a new drama coming out this year, by the director and writers of 'Giant' and 'History of the Salaryman'. I heard the drama would be called 'Incarnation of Money' and star Kang Ji Hwan and Hwang Jeong Eum, with the addition of Park Sang Min and Yoon Yong Hyeon later. And that is all...

The international fan community and the major English-language news websites have mostly been silent about it. Insert the obvious question here. Why?

I am struggling to understand why any series by Yoo In Sik, Jang Yeong Cheol and Jung Kyeong Soon would seem to fly so low under the radar, especially when it's featuring such known actors and actresses. I would think that a team who has had two commercially successful, well-received and loved series would get more buzz about their latest project. Is it that this isn't being promoted domestically either, or have the English-speaking sites gotten lazy? And if this silence is domestic as well, why? I would hate to think Kang Ji Hwan's legal troubles are used as an excuse to not promote it and to not promote a series by people with such a track record is preposterous in general.

I hope SBS will treat this series well, because the release date is February 2nd and I'm still not seeing much effort to psych people up here. I know the ever awesome PD/writer trio can handle anything thrown at them, but I hope they are given room to be wonderful.

So, info here. The drama stars Kang Ji Hwan as someone who was apparently ruined by money. Money and how dirty it is being the central idea of this and given that the teaser sets a serious tone while this is being pegged as a comedy, we can expect more its-own-genre goodness. And frankly, good people, Yoo, Jang and Jung tackling the corruption of South Korea? With this cast? What's not to like, really? They've done it before, they've rocked at it, I'm sold.

I will snoop around for more images and information about it and post more things soon. There are a few behind the scenes videos on Youtube, but I avoid spoilery things, so go search for "돈의 화신" if you want to see them.

For now, here is a Facebook fanpage and the teaser. Enjoy.

Kang Dong Won - News Update

High Cut 5

So here are some updated news about Kang Dong Won's future in projects.

- 'Band of Thieves' is now confirmed and will start filming this March, with Kang Dong Won playing a noble man's son who is also the son of a concubine. I sincerely hope he's not like Kyung Tak of 'Dr. Jin', because I barely made it through that one without wanting to bash his head in. Then again, Kang Dong Won will be a villain, so bashing his head in is quite the appropriate emotion for audiences to have.

- Our tall, dark and creepy also did quite a nice pictorial for 'High Cut', directed by the awesome Lee Myung Se. He also gave them an interview Hangukdrama was kind enough to translate. Here are Part 1.1 and Part 1.2 of the interview and you can see a lot of the photos at Couch Kimchi. Here are my favorites.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'How to Use Guys with Secret Tips' - Lee Si Yeong is Back


Lee Si Yeong is back and she's bringing a whole lot of hurt with her. Funny hurt, directed at her co-star, once again. I can't help but cringe when I see her hit fellow actors in movies and dramas. I know she's not a boxing machine 24/7, but she somehow makes it look like it would really hurt. I feel sorry for those who receive that. For a moment. Then I want them to get beat up more, because it's hilarious!

The lady is back with a rom-com movie called 'How to Use Guys with Secret Tips'. Still in her ugly duckling 'Wild Romance' vibe, Lee Si Yeong is playing a woman (Choi Bona) who does not date much and seems to have completely given up on her looks and man-attracting techniques.

Bona then finds a book and tape by some self-proclaiming love guru, played by the awesome Park Yeong Gyu, who has very detailed advice on how to get men. She follows them and surprisingly enough, they work. They work on many guys, one of them being our male lead, top hallyu star Lee Seong Jae, played by Oh Jeong Se.

It seems this is the first big movie for director Lee Won Seok and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. The movie also stars Kim Jung Tae and Lee Won Jong.

The poster is creeping me out and needs to be changed, but the trailer is just priceless and has me very excited for this!

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Orion's Ramblings
Images used on this blog are taken from various sources and often modified by Orion. The credit belongs to their respectful owners. If you do not want your image to be used here, contact me with a link to it and it will be removed.
KangDW Light Theme designed by Orion. Based on the template "Touch of Purple" by Jakothan. Dreamon Shape Brushes used.